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愛 LOVE

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張愛玲

這是真的。

有個村莊的小康之家的女孩子,生得美,有許多人來做媒,但都沒有說成。那年她不過十五六歲吧,是春天的晚上,她立在後門口,手扶著桃樹。她記得她穿的是一件月白的衫子。對門住的年輕人同她見過面,可是從來沒有打過招呼的,他走了過來,離得不遠,站定了,輕輕的說了一聲:“噢,你也在這裡嗎?”她沒有說什麼,他也沒有再說什麼,站了一會,各自走開了。

就這樣就完了。

後來這女子被親眷拐子賣到他鄉外縣去作妾,又幾次三番地被轉賣,經過無數的驚險的風波,老了的時候她還記得從前那一回事,常常說起,在那春天的晚上,在後門口的桃樹下,那年輕人。

於千萬人之中遇見你所遇見的人,於千萬年之中,時間的無涯的荒野裡,沒有早一步,也沒有晚一步,剛巧趕上了,那也沒有別的話可說,惟有輕輕的問一聲:“噢,你也在這裡嗎?”

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Zhang Ailing
translated by Tang Qiaomei

LOVE

It is true.

There was a village. There was a girl from a well-to-do family. She was a beauty. Matchmakers came, but none succeeded. She was no more than fifteen or sixteen, when on a spring evening she stood at the back door, resting her arm on a peach tree. She remembers the moon-white dress she wore. The young man living opposite her house had seen her before, but had never greeted her. He approached, stood still before her, and said softly: “Oh, you are here, also?” She said nothing, and he said nothing more. They stood for a while, then each walked away.

Like that, it was over.

Time passed. The girl was abducted by a relative, and would be a concubine in a strange land. Again and again, she was resold. Having endured life’s winds and waves, in her old age she still remembers the scene from long ago. She speaks often of that young man, under that peach tree, at that back door, on that spring evening.

You meet the one you meet amongst thousands and tens of thousands of people, amidst thousands and tens of thousands of years, in the boundless wilderness of time, not a step sooner, not a step later. You chance upon each other, not saying much, only asking softly, “Oh, you are here, also?”

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https://i0.wp.com/www.buenosairesreview.org/wp-content/uploads/zhang-ailing-photo-150x150.jpgZhang Ailing. A novelist, essayist, and screenwriter, Zhang Ailing, also known as Eileen Chang (1920 –1995), one of the most influential modern Chinese writers. Some of her works include the collection Love in a Fallen City; Lust, Caution; The rice-sprout song and The Rouge of the North.

https://i2.wp.com/www.buenosairesreview.org/wp-content/uploads/qiaomei.tang_-64x64.jpgTang Qiaomei, a native of Zhejiang, China, is a Ph.D. student at Harvard University where she studies early medieval Chinese poetry and literature, and teaches Chinese language courses. Her dissertation examines the representation of divorced women in early medieval Chinese writings. She most recently translated Chapter 3 of Cambridge History of Chinese Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

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Acknowledgements

  • Lucy Tan, in America, for reminding about this gem from our Motherland. (Also read her brilliant interpretation of Zhang’s story, its Chinese context and our language use.)
  • Buenos Aires Review for safeguarding it.

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十年 Ten years

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…and Destroyed Umno

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Neither Umno nor Malaiyoos nor Mahathir seem to know what’s happened to them, those poor, stupid bastards. They just don’t get it, even when you spell it out in a sign poster: Disrupt, destroy, new beginning then another new. We didn’t miss anything, did we, Joey?

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Born to Chinese parents, raised in Penang, educated in Wharton, can’t read Chinese (like Helen Ang, Hannah Yeoh, Liew Chin Tong et al), Low Taek Jho 刘特佐 or 劉特佐 is the quintessential Malaysia-Singapore Anglophile.

This Anglo-Christian quality has a morality dimension — greed, power and hypocrisy — that is best expressed in politics, he aligning with the Malay polity personified in Najib Razak as Lim Guan Eng did with Mahathir Mohamad.

Thank you Joey boy.

He was the key in bringing back Mahathir and, thence, to destroy Umno: the Malay kills the Malay in mutual self-destruction and behind all that a Chinese Anglophile oiling the process.

Next, wait for Mahathir to destroy the remnants of the Malay political forces, with much help from Guan Eng’s DAP, of course. Reason: Malaiyoos believe DAP Anglophiles are better to be trusted than the ‘ultra’ Chinese; they themselves are Anglophiles after all, Mahathir, Rais Hussin, Kadir Jasin, Syed Akbar Ali, Ahi Attan…. They are, in another way of saying the same thing, victims of their own anti-Chinese propaganda and Anglo self-delusional narcissism, believing that the true Chinese are a godless heathen, inferior to them, therefore, immoral and cheats.

But, like Joey, the banana Guan Eng-DAP, too, must be sacrificed, to die, for our sake, rightfully, necessarily, justly. Anglos call it poetic justice. We Chinese call it dao. Buddhists call it karma. You see it happening already.

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The day she came down the mountains

The way she says it, this, in sequence, is what probably happened the day eight years ago she left her mountain home. It was an early autumn day, sun still behind the trees, clouds gathering in the horizon…

We returned recently to find that life had changed little, the road up and down, the cypress forest, the solitude, the fields grow, the old trees chopped for firewood. You can tell, everybody was glad you are back though they never say it. We brought back enough pork to feed a whole village, with which is served sweet rice wine on 30 plus percent alcohol. That night we slept under the stars and with the wide-tail nightjar hooting away somewhere. Soon Fall will come — in these mountains it’s always early — and it will be nine years to that day that changed not just our lives, Jian and I, but everyone else as well.

It worries us sick that we could lose this happiness. Cities give and cities take; they have such dangers lurking.

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Update

This just came in…

In Liaoning, next door to north Korea:

There is a movement in China calling on villagers to build houses like the one above, cheap, local timber, fast to build, easy to maintain and renovate, instead of a 10-room mansion that is empty for 11 months in a year.

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In Henan, home of the Xi’an terracotta warriors:

All made in China: Bugs before, bugs after… the tree you see is the Chinese fir. It is, really, not bad. Tastes like fried Kentucky, without the salt.

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What I’ve learned after twenty-some years of speaking both languages is that it’s very American to say things aloud. And it’s very Chinese to feel them quietly.Lucy Tan, June 2018

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朋友別哭 Don’t cry, my friend

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The article below, by Lucy Tan (above), originally appeared in LitHub. The title is mine.

Why We Chinese Never Say, ‘I Love You’

Because it is never enough

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The first fiction I ever read in Chinese was a short story by Eileen Chang, titled simply, “Love.” I was in college at the time, and my Chinese language teacher had handed it to out to the class. After I finished reading it, I quietly began to cry.

I can’t tell this story without telling you what the language meant to me then. My parents are Chinese-American immigrants, and the first language I learned was Chinese. I spoke it almost exclusively until the very first day of pre-school, when I learned the sentence, “Can I have some juice?” From then on, I spoke in full English sentences. Chinese became the language I only spoke when compelled—with my family, who always spoke Chinese in the house, or when I was forced to practice it at Chinese school on the weekends. I struggled against it, partly because I didn’t possess the full range of vocabulary through which to express myself, and partly because it was a language in which I couldn’t address my emotions.

My parents did not like emotional conversations. They did not say I love you. On parents’ visiting day at school, other kids’ parents left them notes that said “We’re proud of you!” My note said, “We hope you will continue to improve this year. Please read books other than the series, The Baby-Sitters Club.” The closest they had come to addressing the issue of emotion were the times they asked me, “Why are you crying?” By which they meant, Stop crying. And so I tried never to cry in front of them. I held my tears through dinner. I cried only alone, in my room, or on the phone with friends. It seemed to me that the heart was a dangerous territory for Chinese and so I kept the two apart. It was in English that said I love you to a boy for the first time, English in which I cursed aloud. In books written in English, the intricacies of feeling and mysteries of human existence were explored. It was in the love of this language that, early on, I found the determination to become a writer.

But sitting there in the classroom as a college freshman, staring at those three-hundred-some words that made up the Eileen Chang short story, everything I knew was torn apart. No story written in English had ever made me feel what this story made me felt. It was the most profound reading experience I’d had with short fiction, and the story had been written in Chinese. It was as though the two worlds I was used to traveling between had suddenly collided.

The story “Love” is seemingly simple. It’s about a young woman who falls in love with a neighborhood young man after they meet briefly, beneath a peach tree. Years later, after she’s lived a life of misfortune, she remembers this meeting with him and remarks upon the gifts of time, coincidence, and life.

You meet the one you meet amongst thousands and tens of thousands of people, amidst thousands and tens of thousands of years, in the boundless wilderness of time, not a step sooner, not a step later. You chance upon each other, not saying much, only asking softly, “Oh, you are here, also?” “Love,” by Eileen Chang, translated by Qiaomei Tang

What was striking to me about this story was the things that aren’t said. The years in which the young woman is sold as a concubine hovers around the edges of the story, out of focus, but dark enough to illuminate the shining moment in her life that’s described. So much is implied by the words, “Time passed.” Nothing more is needed. For all I loved about the power of language to name what can’t be put into words, this—not naming it—had equal power.

Subtle, too, are the narrative shifts in this piece. We think we are being told a story by a narrator, until we arrive at the phrase “She remembers…” Suddenly, we jump forward in time, where the narrative has been taken over by the young woman, who is now an old woman, looking back on her life, knowing what she has already lost. And what of the phrase, “She often speaks of that young man”? To whom is she speaking, we wonder? What solace, what comfort has she found in her old age? Chang is a master of suggestion. Reading this story taught me that in fiction it’s possible for some of the most poignant moments to linger out of sight. Because, the story seems to say, the hard parts are beside the point. Like a dart, piercing through the thinness of all the years of this woman’s life, is this single encounter: a meeting with a man beneath a peach tree. As readers, we come away reminded that it is rare moments of love and light that we should let define our lives and give our existence focus. How compassionately Chang renders this story. And yet, what a cruel story it is.

For a week, I walked around with “Love” tucked into my class notebooks, switching it from one to the other as I switched classes. The text took up barely half a page. I remember being surprised by that fact each time I looked at it. I couldn’t stop thinking about the young woman in the story and the life she’d left. I couldn’t stop hearing that refrain, “thousands and ten thousands of people, amidst thousands and ten thousands of years.” I had an urge to call my mother, who lived in China at the time. I wanted to tell her that I felt closer to her somehow, not because the story itself had anything to do with her, but because for the first time, I felt moved by Chinese. I felt understood by this story.

Of course, I didn’t do it. My parents and I don’t use language in that way. To this day, I still have never said the words I love you to them in Chinese.

Years later, in writing my first novel, I found myself telling my own love story. What We Were Promised is about many different kinds of love—family love, lost love, stale love, and new love. My characters are Chinese and Chinese-American, and they mostly speak Chinese. One of my early readers made an observation that stuck with me: “They so rarely tell each other what they’re feeling!” It occurred to me that I was writing the kind of dialogue I grew up hearing, where love is tacitly understood. Love settles into the cracks of daily existence, paved over by mundanity. “Wear a coat,” my mother would tell me. “Eat more meat.” “Read different books.” I love you. I love you. I love you. What I’ve learned after twenty-some years of speaking both languages is that it’s very American to say things aloud. And it’s very Chinese to feel them quietly.

“Oh, you are here also,” the young man says to the young woman. In other words: I love you. And yet I love you would have cheapened things. By acknowledging the limitations of language, by letting everything else do the telling, we are treated to the depths of one human life. Maybe it was never that my parents were unwilling to say I love you. Maybe they sensed that the phrase itself was never enough.

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About Lucy Tan: She grew up in New Jersey and has spent much of her adult life in New York and Shanghai. She received her B.A. from New York University and her M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was awarded the 2016 August Derleth Prize. Her fiction has been published in journals such as Asia Literary Review and Ploughshares, where she was winner of the 2015 Emerging Writer’s Contest. What We Were Promised is her first novel.

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From a land with few words and, therefore, less noise.

(Unlike Malaiyoo tanah of Anglophiles, subsisting on copycat culture and barbarian desert values, with so much yada, yada amounting to nothing.)

Few of China’s classical pieces are as Chinese as the one above 《二泉映月》, ‘Moon Reflections on Two Streams‘: naturalist theme; melancholic tonal quality, played on an old Chinese instrument; rich and varied notes from an impoverished busker, seeking a better life. Small wonder, in ancient text, we were often metaphorically referred to as huaren 华人 — an accomplished people. We Chinese could readily produce a western-style composition but no westerner could write such music. Here is an American Chinese comment:

You probably will not be able to find a performance better than this one by Song Fei. Listen carefully. Almost every note has her own unique interpretation. The sound of erhu is very close to (the) human voice. While you listen, imagine the blind A Bing telling you his own life story of struggle and his yearning for a better future. Also notice where the orchestra is from and who is conducting the performance. I have watched this video countless times. Never get tired of it. I feel the melody, just like Butterfly Love, resonates deep in my blood and bones as a Chinese American. I doubt any westerner can have the same feeling listening to this immortal piece.

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Oh, my Dear, you are here also…

亲爱的 你也在这里

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towards a better, diversified… beeyin?

Image result for sigh emoji

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In the beginning…

Yeo Bee Yin Blasted

(A) small incidence in the (Petronas) education unit made me utterly disappointed with how things work in Malaysia. While waiting at the lounge, I met two returning scholars from Nottingham University, UK. I started to talk to them. To my very surprise, they couldn’t even speak proper English! After a while, an education unit guy came and met them, I accidentally saw their results – one of them get second class lower and the another one a third class. That blasted my mind. Here I was, with a CGPA of 3.95/4.00 begging only for 1 year of deferment, not even a scholarship, but was denied. Here they were, spent 4 years in the UK fully sponsored and yet graduated with at most, mediocre results.

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Image result for arrow sign

 

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Yeo Bee Yin ‘Diversified’

In the end…

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They give her a shitty, know-nothing portfolio and she is so blasted away, talking not about science but about diversity politics….

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If this keeps up for 10 years, I will shut down this blog for the next 100. Maybe even masuk Malaiyoo or turn into a Banana and declare my eternal allegiance to the Father, Son and Holy Hannah.

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中文不错  谁写的? 您?

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马来西亚财政部长林冠英于2018年6月24日在吉隆坡发表的声明:

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学习与使用华语/母语,是联邦宪法第152条文(1)所赋予及保障的基本权利。除了财政部,联邦政府旗下的其他部门也应该给予更多使用华语的空间,官员须适应和习惯部长除了国语及英语外,使用华语或其他母语。
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近期因一则有关TRX敦拉萨国际贸易中心的中文版文告,我遭到《国阵之友》种族主义式的强烈谴责,他们声称此举(准备中文翻译稿给媒体)为不尊重马来文作为国语的地位,虽然当时我也发出了国语及英语新闻稿,在记者会上亦以国语和英语和媒体互动。

根据联邦宪法第152条文(1)阐明,任何人不得禁止或阻止任何人使用、教导或学习其他语言的权利。在此宪法精神下,发放中文或其他语言的翻译版新闻稿,何错之有?

更何况,我以财长身份发布的新闻稿,向来以国语为主,英语为次,偶尔在逼切性及重要的课题上,我们才译成中文稿发出给相国内外的中文媒体,方便相关单位直接掌握第一手消息,试问,“不尊重国语地位”的逻辑到底在哪里?

我国独立了61年,鲜有部长提供中文翻译稿给媒体。现在财政部提供多语的文告,不过是彰显我国多元文化面貌,尊重人民的表现。再者,中文版翻译稿有助于让原稿透过国内外以中文为主的社交媒体,精确地传播出去。

而且,现在我们已经迈入了全球化的年代,国阵不能不思进取,继续沿用种族极端的方式来获取支持。不要以为这样可以延续国阵的政治寿命。这只会让国阵在509大选后,继续遭到到人民的唾弃。

来自国阵之友的攻击,我们认为是理所当然,可以不予理睬;但作为一个新马来西亚的领袖之一,我深信,懂多一个语言是一种优势,一种属于马来西亚的独有的优势。不管是什么种族的马来西亚人,起码都懂3个语言,是我国独有的骄傲。

即便是首相敦马哈迪的记者会,除了国语外,也常常以英语来回答国际媒体的提问。这凸显我国多语的优势,也丝豪不影响马来文作为我国官方语言的地位,却不见相关人等出来指指点点。

要知道,不管是首相还是财政部的记者会,都是在国际城市的吉隆坡发表。在这庄重的场合上,我们从来都以国语先发表,继而用英语,我的中文稿,则是在必要时才翻译给媒体的。

为中文媒体准备中文稿,也让财政部官员频频受到其他部门的询问,毕竟这是过去从未发生的事情。只是,学习与使用华语/母语,是联邦宪法第152条文(1)所赋予及保障的基本权利。除了财政部,联邦政府旗下的其他部门也应该给予更多使用华语的空间,官员须适应和习惯部长除了国语及英语外,使用华语或其他母语。

今天,尽管面对种族主义者的指责,但我不会向他们低头,财政部长的文告依然会继续以国语、英语同步发布,必要时还是会加上中文翻译稿,并希望政府高层可以习惯新的运作模式。我认为,使用多一个语言发表声明,并不代表我对马来西亚这个国家的爱会因此而被削减,或影响国语作为官方语言的地位,反之,这可突显我们的多元性质。新的马来西亚是一个具包容性、互相尊重多元国家,在维护马来文作为官方语言地位之际,我们也需掌握其他语言的使用以提高竞争力,因此,作为财政部长,我坚持在必要的时候,继续以中文发稿给海内外的中文媒体。


林冠英

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TRX statement (minus the Chinese version)

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Xenophobic and racist Anglophile First

A case in point…

Pendatang! Balik Cina — Again — But Spoken in English

Anglophile First: See why a DAP Malaysia is going to be a fucked-up country, like is PAP Singapore.

The source of that man’s attitude (in the clip above) — berating, bullying, moralizing, inhumane, irrational — isn’t rooted in law nor in state policies but in his culture and value system that the Singaporean motherfucker had imported then raised to accept without question. He isn’t the first, of course (see below), and won’t be the last.

DAP Malaysia actively promotes this sort of thinking, values and culture: Malaysian First, which is anti-Malay, anti-Chinese, anti-natives because, in Hannah Yeoh’s words, we have ‘no class‘. And we Chinese have been getting it from them, whether in Malaysia or Singapore. Such are the beginnings of fascism.

But we Chinese, China, will get even; we always do. Besides, it’s in the Nature of things….

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/a/a1/FitzpatrickChe.jpg/170px-FitzpatrickChe.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d0/KordaFilmRollChe.jpg

The world’s most potent revolutionary and anarchist propaganda — and highly deceptive, too. Yet Che Guevara is not even Cuban, he is Irish descent, his father surname Lynch being from the Cork, and Che himself living a while in Limerick. The Che poster had come from one of the two frames immediately above and note who preceded Castro and Che? Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f3/LeiFeng.poster.jpg

Hannah Savior Yeoh and Chairman Commie Lim

In February 1970 16-year-old Zhang Hongbing slipped a note under an officer’s door in his Anhui village, accusing his mother of criticizing the Cultural Revolution and Mao Zedong. After which, the mother was bound, dragged out, beaten then executed. In 2016, Zhang, 72 by then, wrote and published the same account in his blog to explain her death and his betrayal: “I want to make people in China to think.”

If you are wondering about the relationship in the above image and the one below, it’s this: they carry the same propaganda.

In Harapan, DAP people in particular, so skilled in lying and deception, fought, lived by and had thrived on propaganda: they had won GE14 on propaganda and now rule by propaganda.

Everything else, such as the police and MACC raids, exist purely to explain and to justify the propaganda message: they are Saviors. They had even converted a 12-year-old named Ervin Devadasan to their cause, Ervin being as classic as Anglophile like is Shay Adora Ram.

And here’s the thing: Having ‘rescued’, ‘saved’ the country, the DAP (and Pakatan) will feel justified to drive and to own it. On that plank, when propaganda turns to action and because of a Malay backlash, the result will convulse the country.

Wait till Umno and PAS get their act together….

We haven’t yet the seen the backs of racism that the DAP itself practises in its inverted form: the Anglophile and the Jesus Christ supremacy inside them.

For 60 years or more, all government propaganda messages rested on situating a Malay, usually some Umno crony, as an exemplar of the penultimate Malaysian character, quality and patriotism; that person is never, for example, a Chinese. (Recall Mahathir’s towering Malays?) Today, on the same pivotal position, the ultimate, devoted Malaysian carries a name like Ervin, black skin, white inside, all white, like Shay Adora is white, like Hannah Yeoh, like Joseph Lim Guan Eng, like Lisa Ng and Sheridan Mahavera.

Shay Adora’s turn will come; she is still growing up.

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What’s Wrong with the Pakatan Government?

The question above is found in the answers to the following questions:

  • What lays at the root of the decision by DAP Minister Kulasegaran to want to deport all the foreign cooks? Why did he stop at cooks only?
  • What’s to be gained by Hannah Yeoh using — no, exploiting  — a kid, lifting him onto a national pedestal, identical in the way she exploited her 6-day-old daughter to claim a non-existent ethnic root?
  • Why did Mahathir claim that Malaysia has too much debt, 1 trillion too much, then turns around to say the country needed to borrow from Japan, justifying, at the same time, to keep giving fish to fishermen?
  • Why did Mahathir, Lim Guan Eng et al keep lying about the one trillion ringgit?
  • What motivates Jagdeep Singh to wall up migrant workers in Penang into designated areas only, in essence, a policy identical to Nazi policy towards Jews and the Chinese Exclusion Act in the US?

In all the questions, above, Malaysian nationalism is the central plank. In power now, they crank up that message.

Pakatan’s entire propaganda efforts would leave and demand this choice from the Malays: either you are Malay or Malaysian. And if you are Malay you can’t be true Malaysian. Or, if you are true Malaysian, you can’t be Malay.

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Anglophieng Revisited

Here, you’ve an Anglophile, with an Aussie diploma, who once counted beans for a living, so listen to him, in Malay, trying to make sense of truth and reality.

A Spade is a Spade when Guan Eng says it is

Guan Eng [in translation] within 50 seconds can go from claim (in italics, bold and parenthesized, below) to fact to contradiction then to contrary-claim and back to contradiction, onward to repeating false equivalence, after which, if you were to sum them up has only one noun-adjectival word. It is call a lie:

… The debt position of the federal government is an amount exceeding 1 trillion ringgit (claim). Obviously, Moody’s saying that the federal government debt at this point is 687 billion (fact). True, we don’t dispute that (first contradiction). But we estimate that the savings (contrary-claim) of the federal government from debts (second contradiction) … For example, the case of 1MDB (false equivalence in an example)….

Small wonder, Malaysia is so fucked up, sucking up to Mahathir, Guan Eng, et al. And reporters, Malaysiakini in particular, see nothing wrong with that statement… and so continue day-in, day-out to troll out trash and those motherfuckers proclaiming them as saviors and gods (the same thing they say for 2,000 years about that other fucker named Jesus Motherfucking Christ). It is his ‘right’, they’d say. It’s transparency, accountability, they’d say.

Also note the man to his left smirking, and who, once in the business pages, would hail him as a successful, clever man all because he’s got more money than you.


The Truth of the Matter

Lim Guan Eng (and Mahathir Mohamad) get away with what they say by the mere act of repetition, which is the cliche excuse given to lies by Malaysiakini. But how does repetition turn a lie into truth?

It can’t. No, rather, lies become lies after first accruing some certainty: it must, those motherfucking editors say to us, contain a germ of truth. Thus, on this germ, grows a kernel of impenetrability so nobody truly understands what it is, in the end, Guan Eng is saying about the ‘debt’.

This is where economics come in. Without, first, the comprehending the economics contain in the statement — the government debt is now 1 trillion — how could Malaysiakini tell if Guan Eng is telling it right? But to get to the bottom of the matter, for the economics to be explained, 1 trillion cannot be done without the tables, graphs and especially the mathematics.

It would be like talking your way through a painting without ever showing the water-color painting, photo above: try imaging it purely with words. You’d be wrong ten times out of ten.

(Truth? It is the cover of a new book Acts of Infidelity, Picador, by Sweden’s Lena Andersson who tells of a respectable playwright (Andersson herself is a novelist) entering into a relationship that’s today called a mistress. To pour scorn on the Chinese as low-class, Anglophiles and moral motherfuckers like Hannah Yeoh call the mistress, a concubine. Andersson wanted an answer to the question, once the sex is taken out, satisfied, what is a lover for in this age?)

In the remaining part of this post, talking of 1 trillion, financial economics and analytic logic are used, generously.

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Why do the Fuckers keep lying about the Trillion?

Begin with Anil Netto, a quack economist:

“The federal government’s domestic debt has soared from RM217bn in 2006 to RM438bn in 2011.”

Notice the word, ‘soared’. After which he goes on, dousing petrol into the ‘soaring’ debt numbers:

“The government, however, says nothing to worry, the total federal government debt is only 53.5 per cent of GDP, still below the critical threshold of 55 per cent. But see how even that ratio has been rising over the years.”

After which, he reproduced the graph below:

https://i0.wp.com/anilnetto.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Msian-govt-debt-to-GDP.gif?resize=470%2C215

What’s wrong with it?

For the answer, see the next graph below, taken from some birdy named Hornbill who, though, is less hostile to Najib (pay attention to the green line, at 60 to 100% of GDP that ran for half of Mahathir’s era):

https://hornbillunleashed.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/malaysian-debt-to-gdp1.jpg?w=646&h=393

Both charts are factual, but none is true. Not true because debt and GDP are apple and orange comparisons.

Total federal government debt is total stock of monies owed by Putrajaya whereas GDP is not a stock concept but a flow — how many stalks of rice ripened yesterday and harvested, chapatis made and eaten tomorrow — hence, GDP changes by the minute.

Debt-to-GDP is hardly the stuff of economics, it is not even worth discussing, but it is useful for rating agencies (Moody’s etc) and central banks as a measure (notice the word, ‘a’) of the government’s ability to pay. But, in the hands of motherfuckers like Lim Guan Eng and Mahathir Mohamad, they’d use it to decide if Malaysia is going to be ‘bankrupt’.

In corporate or stock market terms, debt level is called ‘leverage’ or ‘gearing’. Hence, debt-to-income ratio is a company’s ability to pay for every dollar earned over a period. In an indirect way, the ratio measures how much money could be earned for every dollar borrowed, though those earnings won’t come three, five years later when a factory, paid with a bank loan today, is completed and therefore could start to produce goods after which they are sold (insyaallah) and earn money to repay the loan. Hopefully, net of these repayments, there is leftover as profit.

Exactly the same is the debt-to-GDP concept, measured sometimes in percentage terms, and mostly as multiple (or fraction) of the other. At a macroeconomic level, however, the ratio is almost useless because, unlike corporate, the government can print money.

Still, we’ll talk about it here because of morons like Anil Netto, since joined by the Lady of the Valley (who can bear to see a graph, which gives her a kepala spin), each of them, one piling on top of the other in a doomsday propaganda started by Mahathir, now spread by Malaysiakini and Stevie ‘Wonder’ Gan.

Now, look at the Japan numbers:

https://tradingeconomics.com/charts/facebook.png?url=/japan/government-debt-to-gdp

Holy Jesus shit…! 200%, then 250.

These are numbers that Gan, to serve the propaganda, won’t show. This is because the graph demonstrates two things:

  • (a) you don’t need Moody’s to tell you Mahathir is spreading lies,
  • (b) that the ratio in Malaysia doesn’t really, really, really matter.

So long as you afford to repay, who cares if it is 1000% of GDP. And if you have no money to repay then print money or sell bonds. In Japan, they print yen; in US dollars.

Here then we arrive at the crux of the matter in Mahathir’s lies:

  • what’s debt; (Which seems like a redundant question till you learn about its economics.)
  • is a government guarantee given on a loan a debt;
  • the differences between federal, national, and household debt; and
  • does it matter in distinguishing different kinds of debt, or debt that’s external or domestic.

We’ll deal with them together but in random order — the end result from our quest is still the same.

Related image

Because Mahathir and Pakatan tied up government debt with bankruptcy (this stupidity came from the other motherfucker named Lim Kit Siang), quickly scan through the column headings above: debt is broken into external and domestic.

This is big deal because money owed to, say, Japan is different from owing Maybank. Owing Maybank, the government has the power to print ringgit to settle its debt. Owing Japan, it can’t print yen. Malaysia has to earn yen to pay back yen. So, how to get hold of yen? In that situation, Bank Negara comes in.

In other words, ringgit debt won’t bankrupt Malaysia but foreign debt will. Many Latin America in the 1980s, (see Chile, table above), Philippines in the 1990s, Greece and Iceland in 2000s, defaulted on their debt.

Most of those debt — and this is point of departure in discussing debt — were owed by the government (see Greece, below) not by individuals and companies. What is the federal government external debt today? Answer: Around 200 bn out of 687 bn, that is, under 20% of GDP. In comparison Bank Negara’s international reserves is more than 400 bn.

https://image.slidesharecdn.com/u7pyx4wjrxskup0ncw5f-signature-a0b6d81867a40269870504687385440a4a803b0576456d478aa880c5bf0c5f28-poli-150403042146-conversion-gate01/95/comparative-analysis-of-debt-market-in-hungary-greece-latvia-italy-and-iceland-1-32-638.jpg?cb=1428035022

If by breaking down the concept of debt, the federal government’s position isn’t in dire straits, why then did the motherfuckers Mahathir/Guan Eng keep drumming it up?

To answer that question, first resolve: Is it 1 trillion or 686 bn?

(This segment to be continued…)

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Letters from a Stoic

There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.

https://i2.wp.com/www.brainpickings.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/thinslicesofanxiety10.jpg?resize=768%2C513&ssl=1

https://i0.wp.com/www.brainpickings.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/seneca-3.jpg?resize=768%2C678&ssl=1

From the Daoist Seneca

It is likely that some troubles will befall us; but it is not a present fact. How often has the unexpected happened! How often has the expected never come to pass! And even though it is ordained to be, what does it avail to run out to meet your suffering? You will suffer soon enough, when it arrives; so look forward meanwhile to better things. What shall you gain by doing this? Time. There will be many happenings meanwhile which will serve to postpone, or end, or pass on to another person, the trials which are near or even in your very presence. A fire has opened the way to flight. Men have been let down softly by a catastrophe. Sometimes the sword has been checked even at the victim’s throat. Men have survived their own executioners. Even bad fortune is fickle. Perhaps it will come, perhaps not; in the meantime it is not. So look forward to better things.

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Not-so-impenetrable Joycean Speak

Ulysses:

the day I got him to propose to me . . . first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth… he said I was a flower of the mountain… yes so we are flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldn’t answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky. . .

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Un-Joyce

Those who are to be judges, must also be performers (i.e artists.) Those who are to perform, should judge less. — Adapted from Aristotle, in Politics

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One of the finest films to come out of the Chinese society, arts, consciousness and our humanity. Accept it as true because it is.

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https://www.google.com/logos/doodles/2018/2018-dragon-boat-festival-6430783374884864-l.png

Dragon boat race today, above. Below, dragon boats 1200-1500 years ago, Tang era painting.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5b/Attributed_to_Li_Zhaodao_Dragon-boat_Race._Palace_Museum%2C_Beijing.jpg

Qu Yuan’s Suicide Note

We Chinese are the only culture that every year for 2000 years on the fifth day of the fifth month — today in Gregorian calendar — honors a government official who threw himself into a river, and we’d race each other to look for him.

This is the depth of our humanistic, secular culture, which is that the fate of man, people, beats all the gods.

The occasion is observed wherever there are Chinese (Anglophiles excepting), named duanwujie in China, dumpling festival in Malaysia/Singapore, hari in Japan.

The Han historian Sima Qian mentioned him in the shiji (Book of History). But Qu Yuan 屈原 himself, c. 340 BCE-278 BCE, left a body of written works contained in the anthology titled chuci, or Chu Elegies or Songs to Chu.

In it, his stylistic form veered away from the conventional that you normally see: four-character word organized in paired rows or in couplets. In Elegies, the signature and masterpiece is Qu Yuan’s Lamentations, 哀郢 lisao (poem in original Chinese). There, the varied forms, but predominantly three-character word + three,  dictate the themes and subjects.

In Lamentations, Qu Yuan alternates between talking about nature and about his life, as if these are parallel events; he compared his ethical values to the other officials then. There is no translating the Chinese form into English, but here is an example of the themes:

Heaving a sigh prolonged and wiping off my tears,
I grieve the life of our people with thorns and hardships laid.

In other parts he compares himself to a gardener, herbalist and naturalist, then goes off into an exploration of human qualities (in those lines, you can almost picture Umno and Mahathir-era rule):

At morn, I drink the magnolia’s dripping dews,
At nightfall, I on asters’ fallen petals dine….

I’ve planted nine fields of eupatorium sweet,
And raised a hundred mu of fragrant coumarous,
Together with fifty acres of azalea bright,
And asarums and angelicas fresh and new.
Expecting sore their foliage would then flourish fast,
I wish I could in due time reap an odorous crop.

I see those junta men all take to pleasures ill,
Their paths are dark and hazardous in butt,…

The rabble, greedy for gains and power, rushes on,
Chock-full, yet still not content with what it has got;
Each of them, self-condoning and doubting others,
Becomes’ bristling with envy rancid and hot,

The banal and the profound threads through the poem that runs a marathon 372 lines, but the finest part appears in the four-line Epilogue. It was his suicide note:

Since in that kingdom all my virtue spurn,
Why should I for the royal city yearn?
Wide though the world, no wisdom can be found.
I’ll seek the stream where once the sage was drowned.

This reminds of Zhao Mingfu 赵明福, that is, Teoh Beng Hock…, so that when Lim Guan Eng denies he is Chinese, he refutes and denounces all that, the ethics and ideals, which we Chinese stand for. But then he is Anglophile.

Mingfu, on the other hand, was true as Chinese; you see characteristics of it in the final note he left behind.

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https://i1.wp.com/lucialai.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/TBHanniv.jpg

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Another Qu Yuan’s work is titled ‘Ask the Heavens!‘, in pinyin, tianwen 天问.

But, ask what? You can sense what the poem entails, given Qu Yuan’s circumstances of the time. Immediately below is the modern-day rendering of Ask the Heavens by Wang Xiaolong, painting in metal and wood:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Question_to_heaven.jpg

lisao put to music

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Related image

 离骚 & Masterpieces in Chinese Literature

Above, illustrated version of Qu Yuan’s Lamentations, lisao 离骚. That version in traditional script (below, middle row) is a Qing-era copy kept in the Taiwan national archives. Earlier versions in the seal script (top row, below) are kept in China.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5b/Li_Sao_%28Chinese_characters%29.svg/100px-Li_Sao_%28Chinese_characters%29.svg.png

 屈原 Qu Yuan Ethics & Politics

Above, modern-day Qu Yuan depiction, standing in Hubei’s Jingzhou, present-day name for the ancient capital Ying  to the State of Chu  (c. 1030 BCE-223 BCE). Below, map of the ‘warring states’ era, at the end of which Chu (map below) was seized by Qin, creating a unified China.

In Chinese culture, the vanquished is not obliterated, unlike Anglophile and Malaiyoo Malaysia. Lu state (map below), also absorbed by Qin, gave the Chinese nation Confucius. The Chu state left behind the book named Songs to Chu or chuci 楚辭 — thereby giving the Chinese, Qu Yuan (plus dragon boat racing). He is venerated not as a god (the thing that stupid Anglophiles assume we do in temples, also below) but as an embodiment of certain ethical values and loyalist ideals, selflessness, upright, and steadfast to those.

Within these ideals is resolved the nationalist contention, so that Zhao Mingfu wouldn’t have to die so soon: whose side are you on, China or Malaysia? That question makes antagonistic two forces as if they are inherently exclusive, hence mutually destructive. This white man’s way of thinking is false.

I am China. China is me. By the same ideals and values, what’s good for China has to be good for Malaysia. Choosing one is choosing the other.

They could never understand that elementary philosophy, those Anglophiles Lim Guan Eng, that motherfucker, and YZ Chin, cunt of a bitch, all being so banana.

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https://i1.wp.com/www.youlinmagazine.com/articles/the-lament-on-encountering-sorrows-2.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/ca/Chinese_plain_5c._BC-en.svg/568px-Chinese_plain_5c._BC-en.svg.png

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After the dragon boats, come summer solstice

To Lady in a quiet Valley corner…

As humans women, in western culture, are so much better than men. From Varlam Shalamov who spent 15 years in prison camps, one in Kolyma, so that upon his release he wrote the book of ‘Kolyma Stories‘:

I saw that women are more decent and self-sacrificing than men: in Kolyma there were no cases of a husband following his wife. But wives would come, many of them.

On nights alone

Here, summer days are hotter than in Malaysia, topping 37 recently. Days are long, and the sun sets at about 8 pm. Schools and universities are on the final leg of the semester after which the holidays come. I wait to be released from my duties.

We are on a three-day public holiday since yesterday. For reasons of work, we were (again) separated, two days now, connected only by the phone and some text messages: “Two nights I can’t sleep and I’m crying on my own.” That evening, a video appears on my phone in which she is sobbing. Perhaps it is the bipolar disorder. Or, perhaps it’s the short nights. Summer solstice, when the day is longest, is due June 21.

Deep in the nights and when the day’s papers are cleared, all I’d do, after the messages, is to turn to Lamentations, lisao. Then, revisiting Joyce’s Ulysses, you see this:

May I touch you there?
Yes.
Can I stay the night?
Yes.
Will you always love me?
Yes.

Listening to those words, you know the rest of the world is unimportant, really. But the heart doesn’t rest easy; when we have been together for 8 years, or is it 9?, it feels strange to be talking strangely about her.

Mathematically, our lives go like this,

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P/S: Search under I Girasoli (English title, Sunflower). Near the end there is a line, spoken through Sofia Loren: “I wanted to die. I thought I could never live without love.” That, or, if it isn’t asking too much in philistine, ‘low-class’ culture DAP Malaysia, try the bookstore tomorrow for ‘Acts of Infidelity’ by Lena Andersson; it’s not a Mills & Boons type of work.

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Dragon boat pictorial across China

https://i2.wp.com/www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-06/17/137260821_15292396190831n.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-06/17/137260821_15292396194081n.jpg

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